Did Shopowner Take 'Thou Shalt Not Steal' too Far?

One local, Keith McNeill, said he appreciated what Augusto did.

"He is a hero, for right now there's no more robbers around this neighborhood," McNeill said. "Right now what he done, he sent a message out to all the robbers. Good job, Gus."

Unlike Bernie Goetz, who was both vilified and exalted for his actions, Augusto and his actions do not appear to have divided the public.

Letters of support pour in daily from around the country calling him a hero and praising him for defending himself and his employees. The New York Post nominated him for its Liberty Award, which he said he won't accept.

"I don't know if I'm a hero," he said. "I would have really felt like a hero if the boys went home. But I can understand why people say that. They were threatened by these people, they were abused, and they were afraid to take action. So when somebody takes action and does something that makes them say, 'Oh, I wish I did that. I'd love to be a hero.' They're probably all laying in bed at night fantasizing [about] doing something to be a hero.

"It's not easy being a hero."

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